Establishment of an educational institution in a rural village helps in the modernization of the area because such institution initiates development in infrastructures and public awareness. In the first place, it causes a rise in the number of houses because of the immigration of people around the institution. The institution is connected by a road with the nearby city or town, thereby facilitating transportation and growth of business for the expanding community. Along with the gradual conversion of the village into a town, modern amenities like electricity, telephone, Internet and cable TV network are supplied in the area. Slowly, the place moves towards urbanization with a change both in the structure of settlements and in the attitude of people. Furthermore, regular flow of students, staffs and visitors, and their stay around the place can bring new ideas and give continuous exposure to the locals to diverse aspects of life. Most important of all, the institution becomes a destination for higher education and job for many local residents. This further supports material and attitudinal change of the community as a whole.

Universities and colleges of Nepal have been instrumental in the initiation of modernization of villages. Let us, for example, mention the roles of Tribhuvan University (TU) and Kathmandu University (KU). TU is the first university to work towards this kind of development. After its establishment in 1957, the areas within and around Kirtipur have seen considerable number of developments. One visible influence of TU is the extension of the old Kirtipur town into a larger municipality with the growth of immigrants from outside and around the Kathmandu valley. In the same way, arrival of students, teachers and staffs from around the country has forced the area to expand. Local people have improved their economic condition through rentals, small businesses and, especially, through employment in the offices of TU. Obviously, approach to the university system and exposure to new people and ideas have updated Kirtipur and its neighbouring towns. Besides, the constituent and affiliated colleges of TU have contributed to similar type of development in other parts of the country.

Similarly, after its extension to Dhulikhel in 1994, KU has gradually altered the face of the local villages, especially Bhandol and Bakhundol. These villages have seen infrastructures like concrete roads, telephone, Internet and cable TV network. Local villagers have improved their economic condition through hotel business, rentals and university jobs. KU’s affiliated medical colleges have helped different parts of the country in similar manner along with their advanced teaching hospitals.

Needless to say, it should be the policy of the government of Nepal to encourage new establishments to move to rural areas. Such institutions substitute the government in that they develop the places that the government may have ignored due to other major priorities. So, the greater the number of colleges and universities is in the rural areas, the better it will be for the progress of the country. There are, however, complaints about the negative repercussions of such establishments. The first demerit often mentioned in this connection is that large areas of agricultural land are spoilt leading to the displacement of villagers from there. Second, the local people often feel the intrusion of outsiders in the way they have lived. But such cases are ignored by the majority of people because of the change in their economic status, and in their attitude towards other people and the world. For all the positive developments that the institutions bring to the societies, therefore, it is appropriate for the government to encourage the establishment of new educational institutes in the rural areas as a contribution towards the process of modernizing the underdeveloped parts of the country.

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By hkafle

I am a University teacher, with passion for literature and music.

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